Are you looking for an on-the-ground internship opportunity that puts you at the heart of inclusive, actionable community engagement and development?
Do you want to do good only through meaningful, considered action that can make a proven difference in the world?
Turn your research into results and your passion into practice when you join one of our internship abroad programs. Work on initiatives ranging from gender equality and public health to construction, teaching and early childhood development.
Community is at the heart of what we do – we’re committed to project work that is locally-led and sustainable, and produces real-world positive impact.
At GVI you can be sure that you’re working with an organisation that’s committed to upholding ethical best practices on all of our internships. This is evident by our badge of ethics.
GVI offers some of the most highly rated internship abroad programs in the sustainable development sector. Each of our award-winning internships allow interns to work on one or more of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
Every year, hundreds of international students complete our internship abroad experiences. Our alumni have gone on to work at top global organisations like Unilever and Deloitte. Many have also gone on to found their own sustainable development organisations like Bushwise Field Guides.
We offer research, career and core internships. Depending on the kind of internship you select, you’ll have additional opportunities to collaborate with our sustainable development partners, or lead a research or data collection project of your own. No matter which internship type you select, you’ll be a part of impactful work that’s led by the communities we work alongside.
All of our international internship abroad programs include:
Many of our internship programs abroad also include additional qualifications like a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate.
Intens who have successfully completed their internship stand a good chance of working for GVI, or one of our many partner organisations. In fact, many of our current staff members were previously GVI interns.
Students can join a GVI international internship for a minimum of four weeks, and internships can go up to as much as 24 weeks. Most students choose to complete a summer internship abroad because this is when they have a break in their academic calendar. However, some students arrange a semester internship with their academic institution and take advantage of our 12-week internship options.
Those taking a year off between high school and college or undergraduate and graduate school, can also take advantage of our 24-week internship opportunities. Some of these gap year internship opportunities include a three-month work placement either with GVI or one of our many world-class partner organisations in locations across the globe.
While many students choose to complete an undergraduate or graduate internship with GVI, you don’t have to be signed onto a college or university degree program to join one of our internships abroad.
If you’re in high school and would like to join a GVI program, you’re welcome to join one of our teen volunteering programs abroad. Specially created for teens between the ages of 15 and 17, our under 18 programs combine volunteer work with the chance to learn about the culture and history of the country you’re visiting. From the moment you enquire about your program options until the time you arrive home, we’ll take care of the details for you. We’ve been running teen volunteer pages since 2012, so you’re in safe hands with us.
Who better to ask about what you can expect from an internship than our previous interns. To learn more about what you can expect when you join an international volunteer abroad program, visit our internship abroad testimonials page.
All of our internships abroad offer world-class work experience and training, and you’ll have additional opportunities to customise your internship to meet your personal, academic and professional goals. Our internships range from four to 24 weeks and are available as one of the following internship types:
Maybe you’re deciding which career is the right one for you. We know this decision is a big one – and you want to be sure you’re making the right one. An internship abroad can give you the chance to work in a field you’re interested in and find out if that’s really where your passion lies. Or maybe you’ve finished studying and you’re looking to gain work experience before entering the workforce. With an international internship you can travel the world, contribute to sustainable community development projects, and gain much-needed work experience.
If travelling isn’t an option for you, we also offer a range of virtual internships. Working remotely, you can still gain practical work experience. Choose from a range of topics, including marketing, media and communications, law advocacy and policy, and program management. Working on real-world projects, at the end of the internship you’ll receive a certificate endorsed by the University of Richmond and a professional recommendation from your mentor.
All GVI internships include comprehensive training and support before your program starts to make sure you’re fully equipped to make an impact out in the field. This includes:
Once you’ve finished contributing to impactful project work on the ground, you’ll receive the following to help you take your experience forward to achieve your personal, academic and career goals. All GVI interns:
A research internship is best suited to participants who are looking for advanced experience in field research, or who are in the process of completing a thesis or research paper. In addition to all core internship activities, participants who join a research internship will have opportunities for more in-depth experience in research, data collection and analysis. As a research intern, you’ll also be able to pull on existing GVI data and coordinate with other GVI hubs in your efforts.
And, to ensure that research interns have first-rate academic support while on the ground, you’ll also have the insights of a remote research internship supervisor who’ll be on hand to help you achieve your research goals and guide your in-field work.
After you’ve successfully completed your research internship, you’ll receive a LinkedIn reference and skills endorsements. You’ll also receive certificates from the University of Richmond for any successfully completed GVI online courses.
And, we’re so confident in our internship offering that we guarantee that all interns who take part in a program of six months or more will receive a job offer within 18 months of successfully completing the program. If you don’t, you’ll receive a refund of 50% of your program fee.
A GVI career internship will give you a leg up into your career as a sustainable development practitioner. Career internships are best suited to participants who are looking to gain additional experience collaborating on impactful initiatives with our global partners.
As a career intern, you’ll be paired with GVI partners, either locally or virtually, to complete a range of project work. You’ll also be able to connect with career interns on other GVI hubs around the globe to network and problem solve. This means that you’ll gain a breadth of experience across projects and learn how project implementation differs according to local context.
In addition to the day-to-day tasks of your internship, you’ll work closely with GVI partners to advance specific project goals, such as developing and implementing youth and women’s empowerment workshops, or working with local organisations to identify training gaps for community health workers.
And, to make sure you’re getting the most out of your experience, you’ll be supported by a remote career supervisor who’ll be there to help guide you as you expand your network and your industry knowledge.
After you’ve successfully completed your career internship, you’ll receive a LinkedIn reference and skills endorsements. You’ll also receive up to three certificates from the University of Richmond for any of the GVI online courses you’ve completed.
As with the research internship, the career internship also includes an employment guarantee for any interns that take part in a career internship of six months or more.
But, perhaps you’re less certain about your career path or aren’t ready to delve into a research project of your own just yet. If you’re looking for a less specialised internship, but still want to gain experience and training on the ground, then the core internship might be the best choice for you.
You’ll complete the same pre- and post-program training as you would on any other internship type. However, you won’t complete additional data collection or collaborate work with GVI partners. Instead, as a core intern, you’ll take on additional responsibilities at the GVI base. This might include leading program activities or workshops, fundraising and providing marketing support.
And after you’ve successfully completed your core internship, you’ll receive a reference that speaks to the experiences and skills you’ve gained while on your program. You’ll also have certificates from any of the three University of Richmond endorsed courses that you’ve completed successfully.
GVI offers internship abroad programs in a number of different focus areas, including teaching, community development, women’s empowerment, global public health, construction, and business and micro-enterprise development.
Keep in mind that all of these programs are available as either a research, career or core internship. You can speak to your enrolment manager for the full breakdown of your preferred program.
Students looking to gain experience in international community development will find many opportunities with us. They can choose an internship with a specific community development focus like education, health and wellbeing, or gender equality, or they can choose to complete an internship with a holistic view of community development. We offer international community development internship opportunities in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Nepal, Peru, South Africa and Fiji.
GVI offers teaching internships abroad in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Nepal, Madagascar, South Africa, Thailand and Fiji. On these programs, interns have the opportunity to teach a range of education levels, from pre-primary, primary and secondary school students to young and middle-aged adults.
The most commonly taught subject is the English language and in Thailand teaching interns can even complete their TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate.
Interns completing a teaching internship with GVI can also gain experience in early childhood development. In Madagascar, interns have the opportunity to deliver early childhood development training modules to caregivers and community health workers. On a teaching internship in Nepal, you’ll learn about the role of education in international sustainable development.
Interns train by supporting local educators, first learning skills like lesson planning and classroom management, and then, as they gain work experience, are given opportunities to lead portions of classes or even full lessons.
Please note that GVI does not support orphanage volunteering in any of our program locations. For more information see our stance on orphanage volunteering and our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy.
All staff and participants are required to complete a police background check before arrival on their chosen program, and on-site child protection training is provided once they arrive to volunteer. We also protect children from cyber and real-world threats by ensuring that our marketing material follows child protection best practices.
GVI offers global health internships in Cambodia, Ghana, Nepal, South Africa, Thailand and Fiji. You can be part of the work being done to help communities to prevent transferable illnesses by conducting UNICEF’s WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) workshops with children.
Work to prevent non-transferrable illnesses like diabetes and cardiac disease by leading physical education lessons and nutrition workshops with local students and other community members. In certain locations, like Fiji, you might also get the opportunity to facilitate maternal and prenatal health, as well as infant and toddler health workshops. In some locations, our global public health interns also conduct emergency first aid workshops.
Please note that GVI doesn’t offer any medical internships abroad. The reason for this is that GVI abides by the principle of primum non nocere or “first do no harm.” We simply aren’t comfortable with the potential risks for patients involved in international medical internships. If you’re considering a medical internship abroad, we suggest that you fully investigate the ethical concerns around medical internships, ask the internship provider you plan to use about their operational practices, and make an informed decision afterwards.
For those students who would like to work specifically on gender equality issues, we offer women’s empowerment internships abroad.
Perhaps you’re a law student who’s committed to eradicating gender inequality and enforcing women’s rights, or maybe you’re a medical student who is focused on women’s health, including reproductive health, prenatal and infant care. You might want to work as a psychologist or social worker and are looking to help women empower themselves by teaching them skills to expand their employment opportunities and creating a community of women to support them on their journey. Those studying to be teachers might also be interested in focusing on helping girls specifically with challenges to achieving their goals.
GVI can offer you the opportunity to learn about the challenges women in specific local contexts face around the world. What are the differences and what are the similarities? You’ll learn about the kind of support that is most valued by local girls and women in communities around the world. In the process, you’ll master numerous skills, like teaching adults and leading workshops. You might also be given the opportunity to complete a research project focused on women’s issues in the community. We offer international women’s empowerment internships in Cambodia, Ghana, Nepal and South Africa.
Does your idea of weekend fun include tinkering, fixing up, refurbishing, building or otherwise innovating practical solutions? Are your social media feeds filled with beautiful rooms and DIY solutions? Are you looking at going into professions like carpentry or architecture?
A GVI construction internship abroad might be the ideal international internship opportunity for you. In Fiji and Ghana we partner with local construction professionals to provide infrastructure development at local schools, build rainwater harvesting and recycling structures, and create community gardens. Learn technical skills – like how to measure accurately and plan appropriately – and transferable skills – like intercultural communication and teamwork – which are important in the construction sector. Our international community development internships in Nepal and South Africa might also include some construction work in addition to the focus on teaching and women’s empowerment.
What makes a country, city, or location one of the “best” places to intern abroad? It really depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for traditional, run-of-the-mill options, then GVI is not for you. We’ve always been more interested in off-the-beaten-track destinations. If you have a taste for the authentic and unusual, and a need to get out of your comfort zone, then it seems our values are aligned.
We set up our international sustainable development projects where the resources we provide can be of the most use. This allows our interns and volunteers to work in some rather exceptional places from remote research centres in densely jungled rainforests and tiny uninhabited tropical islands to Buddhist temple schools and economic refugee communities.
With us, interns can truly travel the world, as we offer international internship opportunities on every continent excluding Antarctica. Choose an internship destination that speaks to you from those we’ve listed below.
Africa is the site of much international development work. The United Nations, and other global sustainable development organisations, support local communities in this region with increasing economic growth, women’s equality, and quality education.
GVI offers many internship opportunities for work abroad in Africa. Students can complete international community development internships in three countries: Ghana, Madagascar and South Africa.
Ghana is a West African nation, known for its cultural heritage, equatorial forests, warm waters of its palm-lined beaches, and the vibrant music scene of its capital.
GVI runs international community development projects in Kokrobite, a traditional seaside town, an hour from the capital of Accra. Here international community development interns can work on education and gender equality initiatives.
When you join a teaching internship in Madagascar you’ll be based on the tropical island of Nosy Be. Our base is located next to the Lokobe National Park – the last remaining rainforest left on the island.
You’ll gain experience teaching primary school learners in a formal setting and adult learners in an informal setting. During the day, you’ll assist local teachers with their primary school classes, working with them to prepare lesson plans and other resources. In the evenings, you’ll work near our base to support Lokobe park rangers with conversational English classes.
In the greater Cape Town area, another hub of South African tourism, we offer community development, women’s empowerment, teaching and global health internships. Interns work at a local primary school and a local nursery school in a nearby informal settlement (known as a township).
During your internship in South Africa, you’ll have an opportunity to learn about the unique context of South Africa and gain experience in education, sports, health education and women’s empowerment projects.
Home to Angkor Wat – the largest religious building in the world – Cambodia has become an incredibly popular destination for international visitors over the past decade or so. This increase in tourism has created many economic opportunities for its citizens.
GVI runs women’s empowerment, teaching and gender equality internships in the town of Siem Riep to assist locals with taking full advantage of these new opportunities. There’s also a need for a greater awareness of the impact people have on the local environment. Students interested in community development can complete an international development internship with us in Cambodia. Environmental education forms part of this program.
The gateway to the Himalayas, Nepal, is a bucket-list destination for most adventure-loving globe-trotters. During an internship in Nepal, you’ll be based in the town of Pokhara, about a three-hour drive from the capital city of Kathmandu.
Join one of our international community development internships in Pokhara to assist Nepali individuals with learning and increasing their professional development skill sets to take better advantage of the opportunities tourism affords. From our base in Nepal, we also offer internships in the fields of global health, women’s empowerment and teaching.
Thailand is one of the most visited countries in the world – and our most popular base for interns and volunteers. During an internship in Thailand, you’ll live and work in Phang Nga province, a small coastal province famous for its beaches, islands and underwater life.
If you’re looking to start a career in global health, join our public health internship abroad. Alternatively, we also offer teaching internships in Thailand (with the option of becoming TEFL certified).
Focus on community development while putting your Spanish language skills into practice. Learning Spanish will enable students to participate in many international development projects as it is the second most spoken language in the world.
We run a community development and teaching internships in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, in the town of Cimarrones. Through locally-led projects, community members can take greater advantage of the economic opportunities afforded by the many travellers who come to visit Costa Rica every year.
Along with supporting educational initiatives in the town, creating environmental awareness among locals and international visitors alike is an important part of our work here.
The small town of Oxapampa – which is located 500 kilometres from Lima – is often shrouded in mist from the lush cloud forests found in the Peruvian Amazon jungle. It’s from this base that GVI operates its Oxapampa community development programs.
Interning in Oxapampa allows you to take part in an internship focused on community development. Assist local Peruvian communities to work on development projects that they have identified as important. This could involve tasks such as teaching English or assisting with community development initiatives.
There are also many development initiatives running in this region, focusing on issues such as education, health and wellbeing, as well as economic growth. Students interested in international community development can gain experience learning about these types of initiatives in the context of the Pacific islands. Our internship destination in the Australasian region is based in the Fiji archipelago.
When you intern in Fiji, you’ll live and work in the district of Dawasamu, on the main island of Viti Levu – an area that is relatively untouched by tourism. As an invited member of the local community, you’ll have the privilege of experiencing traditional culture and hospitality.
Our internships in Fiji focus on global health, international development, teaching and community development.
Many academic institutions now consider international internship programs – from reputable providers like GVI – to be programs with a similar value to study abroad programs. For this reason, they’re often keen to allocate credits for these programs. This means you can make use of your financial aid to fund your internship abroad, while also earning credits that count towards your qualification.
Although GVI international internship programs aren’t automatically accredited internship programs, many of our interns have applied and received credits for their internships through their educational institutions. The first step is to contact your international education office or your academic advisor.
After more than two decades in operation, GVI has become well-known to academic institutions around the world including: Stanford University, Duke University, University of Oxford, New York University, Northeastern University, University of Brighton, University of Bath, University of East Anglia, Plymouth University, University of Oregon, University of Glasgow, Bournemouth University, and Cardiff University. We’ve also arranged custom group programs for students from many institutions of higher learning including Ohio State University and Duke University and our service learning curriculum is certified by Portland State University.
These days, many institutions understand the long-term career value of international work experience. This is why many academic institutions, governments and private organisations offer scholarships for students looking to work abroad. GVI is no exception and we often offer limited time scholarship opportunities for students who fulfil specific criteria. To see if we currently have any international internship scholarships available see our scholarships page.
Since you’re looking to intern abroad in international sustainable development, you might also be able to fundraise for your program. Not only is this a way for you to access the means to intern abroad but it’s also an opportunity to raise awareness about the global issues you care so deeply about.
You can make use of GVI’s own fundraising platform to set up your fundraising campaign. Simply select the internship program you’d like to join, submit an application, and one of our Enrolment Managers will assist you with setting one up. Then visit our fundraising ideas page for inspiration on how to collect funds.
Like academic institutions, parents are becoming increasingly aware of the excellent return on investment offered by internships, particularly international internships. If your parents or guardians are helping to fund your education, it might be worth discussing with them what part they can play in helping to fund your internship abroad. If your parents have any questions, direct them to our parent information page, which includes reviews by parents of GVI and a brochure. They can also always contact us for more information.
Enhance your internship with additional opportunities for data collection, research and analysis. Collaborate with other research interns and work towards writing up your research paper, thesis or dissertation.
Gain experience and develop your skills as a core intern. On these internships, you might lead surveys, demonstrative workshops and fundraising, and take on other leadership tasks at the GVI base.